Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:06 UK

Lula cleared of electoral scandal

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
President Lula has always denied any wrongdoing

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with an alleged smear campaign by his party.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled there was insufficient evidence to link him to the purchase of a dossier claiming the opposition was corrupt.

He could have been stripped of power if the judges had ruled he was guilty.

President Lula was re-elected last October despite the allegations, which emerged just two weeks before the poll.

Police arrested two men who were carrying 1.75m reais ($800,000, £430,000) in cash, both of them officials in the president's Workers' Party.

Detectives believe this money was to have paid for a dossier of corruption allegations against opposition candidates.

In the controversy that followed, the president's campaign manager had to resign.

Turning point

The impact on voting was not clear, but Lula failed to be elected until the second round and his opponent exceeded the expectations of many analysts.

But now, in a unanimous vote, Brazil's highest electoral court has found there was insufficient evidence that the president was connected to the alleged attempt to buy the dossier.

The court also concluded there was not enough proof that his party was involved.

The president had always denied any wrongdoing.

The election controversy was the latest in a series of scandals surrounding the president in the last months of his first term of office, and he will certainly hope this decision marks a turning point for his government.

Profile: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
28 Jan 10 |  Americas
Brazil's Lula sworn in to office
02 Jan 07 |  Americas
Lula bounces back from the ropes
30 Oct 06 |  Americas
Lula bid derailed by 'dossier affair'
02 Oct 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
07 Feb 07 |  Country profiles

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